26 March 1999

Grasskeep price up

FARMERS were paying more for grasskeep than 12 months ago at a collective auction last week.

Average price was £56/acre – a rise of £6 – at an offering of 300-plus acres at Chew Magna, Bristol, according to surveyors James B King. Top price was £77/acre.

"Regardless of quality, it would appear that position and location are the most important factors, with lots near to – or within striking distance of – farmers who are overstocked making the most money," says Jim King.

Handy blocks with good road frontage and easy access showed the biggest increase, with well-fenced and well-watered land making between £65 and £75/acre.

The drive by farmers to increase their area – and so qualify for extra subsidy – was a factor. And, with open-market stock prices having fallen, so subsidies have become more important. "Theyre relying on that piece of paper," says Mr King. &#42